Loveland's Independent News Source
Massive Public Subsidies Planned
for Bass Pro Shops
Loveland - February 1, 2014

Debates over using public monies to subsidize building Bass Pro Shops
become front page news in most communities but in Loveland most of the
promised public subsidies for building the giant retail store have gone
essentially unreported.

Read Scott Reeder's Atlantic Cities article regarding such debates and subsidies   

This is partly because Loveland's City Council has previously abdicated much of its own
governmental authority over Centerra funds (
see recent story) thus making the total subsidy
unknown and because of precedent set with the
Promenade Shops at Centerra.  

After taxpayers funded the parking lots, landscaping and monumental signs to build Promenade
Shops at Centerra, the McWhinney's and their partner were unable to pay the private debt.   This  
resulted in the creditors buying back the project in a foreclosure auction for the amount of private
debt of only $84,993,000 on July 1, 2010.  Over $140 million of public and private funds were
invested in the construction of the Promenade Shops at Centerra.

Council To Vote On Subsidizing Bass Pro Shops This Tuesday

Loveland's City Council is set to approve two additional changes to McWhinney's 2004 Master
Financing & Intergovernmental Agreement (MFA) on Tuesday (the 6th amendment) paving the way
for public monies to be used in building the planned Bass Pro Shop Outdoor Center in Centerra.

City staff have cleverly omitted any mention of the beneficiary of those amendments, Bass Pro Shops,
in the resolution but instead only refer to the project as "Parcel 505."  Specifically, Loveland's City
Council is being asked to divert $840,000 away from Centerra's regional transportation obligations
and instead use it to assist McWhinney in building a
wastewater lift station.  McWhinney is also
marketing other lots connected to the development thus claiming the subsidy is for more than just
the single retailer.

The $840,000 emanates from Centerra's 2008 public bond of $112 million from which $12 million
was set aside in an escrow account for the purpose of improving the I-25/U.S. 34 interchange.  A year
later McWhinney received permission to divert $414,000 from the $12 million followed by another
$76,000 to cover McWhinney's other Centerra expenses after the primary amount of the bond was
mostly obligated.  Historically, McWhinney spends the monies they have discretion over before
finding creative means to access any placed aside in an escrow account with the city to fund promised
regional transportation improvements.

McWhinney finally spent approximately $10 million improving the intersection (I-25/34) but only
after considerable public pressure and demands by the city.  What McWhinney hasn't done with the
now over $130 million raised in public debt is fund any portion of promises to widen Highway 34
bridge over I-25 to four instead of two lanes in each direction.  By dispersing the remaining $840,000
left from the $12 million in the escrow account to improve that interchange implies the city has given-
up on getting anything more than the so-called "interim" improvements to the intersection.

Private Parking Lot To Become A "Public Good" - Total Subsidy Unknown

The amendment itself to the MFA (6th Amendment) will define the parking lot for the Bass Pro Shops
(Parcel 505) as a "public good" thus deserving of public monies to construct and maintain the
landscaping, parking area and any outdoor attractions built into it for Bass Pro Shops (outdoor
waterfall).   Below is the current MFA Section 1.80 with the addition to be voted on by council added
in red.

“Private Parking” shall mean and refer to any parking improvements required by City Regulations
to serve, in whole or in part, a Private Improvement, except the parking improvements for the
Lifestyle Center, which are to be owned by the Service District or the Commercial District, which
improvements are depicted on Exhibit E to the MFA,
and the Parcel  505 Parking Improvements,
which are to be owned by the Service District or the Commercial District, which are depicted on
Exhibit C to this Sixth Amendment.

The total cost of the parking lot or total investment of public dollars being proposed has not been
released to the public by McWhinney's Centerra.  The amendment proposed to council simply opens
the door for McWhinney to use any monies raised through the Urban Renewal Authority (diverted
property tax dollars) or other sales taxes collected by Centerra in funding the development.

Another item not disclosed to council is what total Centerra financing (both initial investment and
ongoing subsidies) are being offered to Bass Pro Shops by the Centerra Metro Districts they control.  
For more information about how Centerra operates see our story
Centerra Enigma.

Contrary to popular belief, Centerra has not generated the sales tax revenue projected in the 2004
MFA with the City of Loveland.  Instead, Centerra currently is funded largely by debt for which the
repayment requires even more debt and building more projects to presumably generate future
revenues capable of paying back the some $130 million in debt already accrued.
          Bass Pro Shops
   Leaving Taxpayers     
       High and Dry

Below is an excerpt from the Atlantic Cities
article regarding public financing of Bass
Pro Shops and Cabela's

"It’s not like folks suddenly have more
money to spend on hip waders once a
Cabela's opens up. What generally
happens is that instead of buying those
hip waders from an independent
business, they go to big box store," says
Leroy of
Good Jobs First.

Both Cabela's and Bass Pro have become
extraordinarily adept at getting taxpayers
to pay not only for the bricks and mortar
of their stores but some esoteric related

An 18-acre lake – with a waterfall – was
paid for with part of the $70.6 million in
taxpayer subsidies provided for a Bass
pro development in Independence,

An indoors cypress swamp will be created
in Memphis as part of the $215 million
taxpayers are contributing toward the
renovation of the Pyramid Arena into a
Bass Pro Shop. This includes money the
city plans to spend to provide supporting
infrastructure for the building.

A boardwalk, a town square and street
improvements were part of the $150
million in tax dollars used for a
development in Branson, Missouri, where
a Bass Pro is the anchor tenant.

Stuffed animals have been purchased with
millions of dollars in public funds to adorn
numerous Cabela’s stores in communities
ranging from Lehi, Utah, to Buda, Texas,
to Hamburg, Pennsylvania.

These development deals are not without
risks to the communities that enter into
them. Bass Pro defaulted on its bonds for
its development in Olathe, Kansas. In
Independence, Missouri, the city even
guaranteed the bonds and Bass Pro
defaulted anyway, leaving the city to shell
out $3.5 million to cover a payment last
year on the project.

In both of those communities, the bond
payments were tied to sales taxes
generated by the Bass Pro Shop stores.
When sales fell below the projected
levels, there wasn’t enough money to pay
off the bonds.